The legislature wrapped up the 2020 session. This was really an abridged session because of COVID-19.The virus is also to blame for a $1.3 billion budget hole the legislature filled this week, only to have the governor veto it after negotiations broke down. The legislature overrode the veto, and Friday night took up dozens of bills to wrap up the session two weeks early; many of those bills, pretty controversial.
They passed a bill that would make Oklahoma the first state in the nation to refuse so called red flag laws which could remove guns from people suffering mental illness or who may be violent.
“You said it’s not a COVID related bill emergency bill and so we shouldn’t be working on it. Are you willing to lay it over sir?” Representative Kelly Albright (D) Midwest City asked author Representative Jay Steagall (R) Yukon.
“No, I’m not willing to lay this bill over. Look my constituents didn’t send me up here just to work on COVID-19 related issues. I don’t know where you got that,” Steagall replied.
Senator Roger Thompson (R) Appropriations and Budget Chair raised eyebrows this week, sneaking an amendment into a bill that would have allowed political candidates to use campaign funds on anything they choose including vacations or their mortgage. He pulled it back, saying he was just trying to make a point about transparency.
“In hindsight it’s a very bad idea to do. There’s a better way to do that and it was a mistake on my part,” Thompson said.
Despite the budget woes, the legislature voted to give a cost of living increase to state pensioners.
“That’s a sad situation for them to have to be put in. They deserve, fellow senators, to live out their lives with dignity,” said Senator Ron Sharp (R) Shawnee.
The House of Representatives passed a bill allowing curbside distribution of booze to continue, and also passed a bill called the “Unborn Person Wrongful Death Act” which allows family of an aborted fetus to sue the provider.
“I think of the comments on this we’ve learned what this is all about. It’s about propagating this myth that women don’t know what they’re doing,” Said Representative Emily Virgin (D) Minority leader.
“The argument is hogwash,” Representative JJ Humphrey (R) Lane responded. “That’s what this is about.It’s hogwash.”